Tuesday, February 05, 2019

February Happiness

It is February, which means we have five birthdays in the course of 20 days. This year, we have some big and important birthdays! 

#4 is turning 12. 
#2 is turning 16.
#7 is turning 4. 
#6 is turning 7 (guess that's not huge, but how is it that he's already 7 years old?!). 

And I am turning 40! FORTY. For-ty. 4-0 years of age. Forty years old. (Truth is, I deserve to turn 40! I've lived a lot of life and I deserve to turn 40. Bring on my forties! Huzzah for still being alive!)

Also, in the midst of the birthday celebrations, we have a concerto competition (I have four students competing) and our oldest daughter will find out if she was accepted into BYU or not (the anxiety is high around here!). Add into this that I started teaching all my piano students again (since the birth) and we have a new baby (he's almost 2 months!). Don't forget Valentine's Day! And parent-teacher conferences! 

I'm also working on my book (no details, yet, sorry!). 

If that wasn't enough, I feel pulled into the political climate, too. Between building a wall, a government shut-down, third trimester abortion (may God save us all), vaccinations, and all the ridiculous shouting going on, it's hard to stay positive. 

I am desperately trying to be a loving and supportive wife, an attentive and kind mother, a service-minded friend, and still take care of myself, too. 

IT IS EXHAUSTING. All of it. And yet... 

I am happy! Exhausted, saying-all-the-wrong-things, sometimes wanting to give up, disappointing everyone around me... but I'm still happy. I think I know why:

1. I'm taking my meds faithfully.
2. My boundaries are firm; knowing when to say no is easy for me, now.
3. I get to inhale the scent of an infant's head all day long. 
4. Experience has taught me that all-the-things always get done and worrying doesn't help them get done faster. 
5. My prayers have gotten more specific. 
6. Reading the Book of Mormon every day clears my mind. 
7. I don't spend time worrying and fretting over my imperfections, anymore (well, not as much!). 
8. I realize that I can't go back and change my mistakes or how I treated people and I can't go back and do things differently... I can only move forward and do better. This has made the conversations with myself in the shower a whole lot more positive. Ha! 
9. I have a lot more patience... more patience then I've ever had in my life and it has been incredibly hard-earned. 

Also, I could just be ovulating, so... LOL

Anyway, this is life right now. Nothing that exciting, just busy. Good busy. The kind of busy I prayed for years ago -- the kind of busy I used to resent. I like it.

Mostly, though, I'm looking forward to the Valentine's chocolate and all the birthday cake. Hooray for February!

Monday, December 31, 2018

Baby the Eighth: Birth Story

I chose to be induced with number 8 on December 14th, 2018. My mother came into town late on Wednesday (due to flight delays), and Friday morning, I headed to the hospital with Brandon and our oldest (she wants to be a nurse and she's already seen me give birth --my homebirth -- so I was cool with letting her come, again. Truth is, I would have been okay with a lot of the kids there, but hospital rules asked for two people, total, due to small spaces. Oh, well). 

I was nervous. 

I'm usually not nervous when giving birth. Not really, anyway. I was crazy confident with our 7th, but this time I was not. Reasons why: 
*I still didn't know why I wasn't supposed to do a home birth. Every test, every blood pressure check, every sonogram pointed to a very healthy baby and a very healthy me. There were zero complications. No reasons why I couldn't have given birth at home. Why did the Spirit tell me not to? What was going to happen during labor/delivery?
*This pregnancy was difficult; my body was exhausted. Giving birth is hard, hard, hard --how could I do this, again, when I was so tired? 
*I remembered how I felt when I had pushed out number 7. As soon as she was born, I said to myself, "I am NEVER doing this, again!" And here I was, doing this, again. 
*I hated being induced. (I've been induced 6 out of 8 pregnancies, now, and I still hate it.) I hated the monitors, I hated the pitocin, I hated feeling out of control. Why was I being induced, again? Why did I choose this, again? 

They started me on the tiniest bit of pitocin and around 9:30AM (I think?) the doctor came, checked me (I was a 4) and broke my water. Contractions weren't very strong. 

More pitocin, More contractions. 

I was doing okay, until the pitocin pain kicked in. The difference between regular contractions and pitocin contractions is the sharpness of the pain. Regular ones don't have pain-pain --they're not a sharp pain. They're more like... achy, tight, focused pain. Does this make sense? 

More pitocin, more contractions. 

Around 2pm? 1:45pm? I was not doing well with the pain. The nurse checked me and I told Brandon that if I was an 7 or 8, I could probably do this. But if I was a 5 or 6, I was seriously considering the epidural. 

This is huge, dear reader. I haven't had an epidural since my second baby, and that didn't even kick in until after the baby was born. I hate epidurals. I hated how helpless I felt being so numb from the waist, down. I've been anti-epidural (for me) since then, and I was proud of myself for never needing one. To even be considering an epidural was emotionally overwhelming for me. Maybe you like them, dear reader. Maybe you are thinking that I'm crazy and silly for even feeling this way, but this is me. I'm an unmedicated-prefers-homebirth kind of birthing mama. To even entertain the idea of an epidural went against all my philosophies and goals for myself. 

Well the nurse checked me and guess who was barely a 6? 

She left us alone so I could make a decision about the epidural. I cried and cried and told Brandon that I wanted it. He was so supportive. He would have gone along with anything I wanted and I was grateful for his confidence in me. 

The epidural lady came in and it took two tries to get it in right. The whole time I'm leaning forward on a pillow, the nurse holding my hand, my hands locked on her arms, feeling pitocin contractions, trying to keep my back rounded, doing everything I can to keep still, and tears just streaming down my face from all the pain. 

There was so much pain. 

When the epidural was done and I laid back down on the bed, I felt immediate relief. The pain of contractions were gone. I could feel my legs and feet. In fact, I could still even feel my cervix expanding and it was surreal how much I felt --without pain! I decided, within the first ten seconds, that I had made the right decision. 

The doctor came in about 2:45pm or so. I told him I was starting to feel some pressure, but nothing alarming. He asked if he could check and what in the world -- I was at a 10! Already! I'd had the epidural for only about 20-30 minutes at this point, so it felt wrong that I was suddenly ready to have the baby. But he said, "Okay, let's do this!" and they got everything ready. Then he told me to do a practice push (and I laughed because his psychology was pretty impressive. It wasn't a "practice" but for sure I can see how that would help other women to think they were "just practicing" when it truth, they were making progress!). 

I only pushed about 3 times before he crowned; the shoulders were very difficult to push out. It was so hard, dear reader. For perspective, I pushed out my 7th in 20 seconds. The fact that I had to focus and push so much more with him is evidence that he was much bigger. Still, no stitches needed (go me!). He was born at 3:15PM.

He weighed 10 pounds and 12 ounces and was 22 inches long!! He was my biggest baby by more than a pound. No wonder he was hard to push out!

Brandon and our oldest daughter were there, helping and supporting my legs. I was grateful for both of them and their calmness in the face of everything. 

I kept baby boy on me for an hour before they weighed him. He nursed; he was perfect! Delivering the placenta was the greatest feeling of relief, and honestly, within two hours, the epidural had worn off completely. I was able to walk to the bathroom when the time came. I was so impressed with the nature of the epidural --they've gotten better in the last 18 years! Who knew? My only complaint was the difficulty of putting it in.

The next day I made an important discovery. I suddenly knew why I wasn't supposed to do a homebirth. 
Because he was so big. 

I was induced one day before my due date. With homebirth, I would have gone over, since I usually do. Because I was so healthy, there would have been no real sign of his size, other than my big belly, but I also have a history of large placentas --we would have deducted that this was the reason for size. I would have continued to be pregnant for up to two weeks afterward. Then I may have had a 12 pound baby --maybe bigger. I may have had to be transported to a hospital. I don't know if I could push out such a large baby. Perhaps it would have caused complications. 

I will never know. But I felt, very strongly, that this was the reason we were supposed to be in a hospital --so I could be induced when I was, so he could be born when he was, so the complications would not even exist. 

(PAUSE: I'm so grateful my mom was here. She and my dad are serving a mission in Salt Lake City right now, and she left for almost a week to come and be with me and my family when baby boy was born. She was amazing and helped so much! I'm just sad her visit had to be so short.) 

I wish I could say that everything after that was fine. It wasn't as easy as I had hoped. He had to be tested for blood sugar (he was fine). His bilirubin was sky-high --they kept him in the nursery under lights for 24 hours, only to bring him to me for nursing. We had to go back for two more testings the first week before they deemed his bilirubin levels low enough. 

Nursing was horrid for a while. You know, dear reader, I had struggles with my first baby and nursing (took about a month to figure that one out) and then nothing but pleasant breastfeeding experiences with the next 5 kids! I had to get a lactation consultant with my 7th and it looked like I might need to with baby boy... I was horrified and determined to fix it before it got too bad. So, with a lot of determination, research, trial & error, pumping, supplemental feeding, and discovery of some really awesome cream, I was able to fix the latch, heal, and nurse my baby enough.

For almost 2 weeks, though, I thought I was going to have to give up nursing. The pain when he would try to latch was excruciating. And then I got thrush. 

Fun times!

But like with most things, the pain, the time, and the struggle was expounded and felt so much harder and took so much longer than was probably true. Reality is difficult to gauge when you are in a frustrating loop of physical and emotional pain. I cried a lot, every single day. I didn't know I had so many tears inside of me! I'm sure the hormonal fluctuations had a lot to do with it, but I don't think it would have been so much if I hadn't been struggling so much. However, like with that epidural, once the pain subsided, the relief was stronger than it would have been had I not experienced the pain in the first place. 

Thus it is with opposition. It teaches us what true joy, true relief, true gratitude feels like...

We've had other struggles, too. My healing was not as quick; my energy lagged a lot. The nursing issues compounded other physical problems. Not to mention the stress of getting Christmas all ready and wanting to sleep whenever I could. 

BUT! We are on the other side of the most difficult parts, I hope. He sleeps fairly well (although wants to be held all the time) and nursing is finally pleasant. I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to keep on top of life when the kids go back to school this week, but for now, we're surviving just fine. The older kids and Brandon have been wonderful and it's so nice to have big kids who can hold baby so I can shower, and who can take care of the other kids, too. It's hard having a lot of kids, but it's nice knowing they are willing to take care of each other when mom needs them to. 

And I love this baby boy. Love him. I'm so grateful God sent him to us, surprise and all! 

Photos to get you up to date: 

Best labor and delivery dress of all time!! You can find it here

Oldest daughter drew this. 

Isn't he the cutest baby of all time?!?! 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Hardest Parts of Pregnancy

I've been blessed with good pregnancies, so don't take this as a complaining session. I'm just commenting on what's going on in my life. It's not meant to compare with anyone else; just writing my truth. No need to shoot me down because your experiences are different or worse than mine; I know we're all different and there are varying levels of good/bad. xoxo 

Taken last week (26 1/2 weeks gestation) in a dirty mirror!

Hardest part of pregnancy for me (this time. The 9th time (I did have one miscarriage in there, about 12 years ago), because the 8th time (7th child), I had gall bladder attacks, and that was pure hell. I haven't had anything like that this time, so far! *crossing fingers*):

*Psychotic dreams: I seriously can't tell half the time what was real and what was the dream. I imagine this is what it's like on acid or something, and I don't get why someone would do this to their brains on purpose. It's disconcerting and sometimes frustrating, like when it turns out Will Smith does not, in fact, have a huge thing for me (not that I would want him to! Just sayin' 😉). 

*Yeast infections: They are seriously the worst. Enough said. (And yes, I'm doing everything right --diet, ACV, garlic, probiotics, over-the-counter, etc.) One of the first signs of pregnancy for me is a yeast infection. Awesome. Yay. 

*Hemorrhoids: We'll just leave that TMI right there. 
(And I know why this and the yeast infections are pervasive, it has everything to do with gravity, the end.)

*Big-ness: I have the smallest torso of all time. I'm all legs. True fact: my first pregnancy altered my ribs physically forever and ever, amen. They have been pushed out (bones are malleable! As an adult?! Who knew!) and so all of my babies have enjoyed the freedom of going out even further. Baby is to the top of my rib cage down to my thighs and STILL sticks out. *shrug*

*Rude comments: THEY. JUST. WON'T. STOP. Even by well-meaning friends. Even by people who know better. And they're not trying to be rude, but every single day I'm answering the same stupid questions over and over and it starts to wear me down. And I am not bothered by the "when are you due?" questions (it's a genuine and perfectly legitimate question!), it's what follows that particular question almost every single time:
"Oh, wow. Wow! Really!? Not until then!?"
"Oh, my goodness, that's so... are you sure?!" 
"You already look so very big! Are you feeling okay???"
"Christmas time?! Are you sure it's not twins?" 

Why can't they say things like this, instead?

"How exciting!"
"You look great!"
"Oh, how fun!"
"Christmas babies are the best!" 
"You've got time to get things ready!" 

Why comment on my body, at all? I mean, ugh, people, yes, I get it. I'm HUGE. I know. (Even though I don't think I look as huge as they claim. I know I'll only get bigger! Look at that picture up there! I don't look like I'm "ready to pop" as an older mother recently said to me (how rude is that?!).) 
As I explained above, I have a small torso and so baby goes outward. I also have leftover fat from eight (seven living) previous pregnancies. I was also overweight when I got pregnant, so chances are, I'm not going to be thin! Isn't it crazy!? I'm an individual with an individual body that does it's own INDIVIDUAL THINGS!! Get over it, already! Stop pretending like my big body is some freak show and that you can't handle the fact that I actually know what's going on --for example, that I ACTUALLY KNOW MY OWN DUE DATE. As you can tell, I'm really getting tired of it, and it's getting harder to be polite and forgive (must. keep. trying.). 

This is why women become hermits when they're pregnant. It's not because we're tired, it's because we don't want to kill people. 

*Fatigue: Yes, I'm tired. But it honestly has less to do with pregnancy and more to do with my schedule. A schedule I have chosen and I love. Luckily, I'm able to nap every few days, so it works out. And I know when to take it slower and when to push myself.

My awesome kids (worth everything!)
*Knowledge of what's ahead: This is both the hardest and the sweetest part of pregnancy for me. I'm pretty experienced with giving birth (in a variety of situations, although I've yet to have a C-section, and I hope I never do), and so I know what's coming. Giving birth is not cake, friends. It's not the worst thing, ever, either (seriously, it's not), but it's a lot of work! I remember pushing out my last baby and I seriously thought, "I will NEVER do that, again." And I pushed her out in 20 seconds! It's not like it was the worst thing --it's just hard. And yes, I choose to give birth unmedicated (on purpose) because I actually think recovery is much harder if I don't. 

I also know how difficult recovery can be. I know all the "what-ifs" and such; I know what can go wrong, and I know what can be difficult to overcome. From the breastfeeding to the vaginal healing --it's not easy, friends. 

There's also the unknown: will everything be okay with baby boy? Will he be healthy? Will labor and delivery go well? Will we be able to leave the hospital when we want? Will he come Earth-side when expected? Will he even survive?

And then: sleepless nights, crazy schedules, diapers, and another human attached to me for another few years. Putting myself away for another little while in order to provide life to another little baby who needs me.

But! And this is the most important! I also know what is coming, too --a sweet, beautiful, heaven-smelling little bundle that I will love and cherish. Sacred moments in the night, nursing my baby boy, wondering how I could have been so blessed. There will be another first smile, first laugh, first crawl, first walk... another baby for all the older Savages to dote on with so much love and attention. There will be love... so much love. All the love that is possible --and it is strange, isn't it? To love someone so much, without knowing their personality, without knowing who they will become --just innocent, unadulterated, perfect love for a vulnerable, tiny, perfect little baby. He will be a part of our eternal family (already is!) and he will forever be one of us. 

I love God so much for giving us families. I love Him so much for giving me this baby (even though it's been hard to accept). I love Him forever for giving us a glimpse of what Heaven is like and what it will be like when we see Him, again. 

And now, I'm crying. ❤

So, see? All these things that are hard? This last thing makes all the other things worth it. (Even the rude comments!)

What are the hardest parts of pregnancy for you? 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

First Day of School




Dad teaches early morning seminary!

6th grade

4th grade

1st grade

No-grade! Staying home with mommy. 

First new outfit for the baby: 

Me, pregnant and stuff (from a few weeks ago; sorry for the bad lighting):

The End